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MAAC Tournament Is Under Way In Downtown Albany

MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor with Albany County Executive Dan McCoy
Composite photo Dave Lucas / WAMC
MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor with Albany County Executive Dan McCoy

It’s one of the biggest tourism weeks of the year in Albany: the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball tournament is under way.

The MAAC men's and women's college basketball tournaments run through Monday at the Times Union Center. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says it's the fifth year in a row the MAAC tournament has been here and the 20th time overall.     "We had a record crowd, 24,000 last year — let's beat that number, but most importantly, whether you like basketball or not, come on down. People watch. We got a lot of stuff goin' on. But most importantly you're gonna see these seniors, men and women, play for the last time in their professional careers, they're gonna be playing their heart out. You're gonna see true basketball, being played hard. Come on down and enjoy it."

Rich Ensor is Commissioner of the MAAC:   "I've never seen a year on the men's side where there's more parity, and truly, anybody can win this tournament this year. It's up for grabs. Iona's done a nice job getting that number one seed, but they come with more than a few losses during the regular season and they had some close games down the stretch and there's ten other schools aiming to take that trophy back there home with them, come Monday night. So I think the fans are gonna get some exciting basketball here."

TU Center General Manager Bob Belber agrees the event offers something for everyone.   "You're going to see the MAAC band jam, the all new Spirit Squad showcase, the bounce to the arena and the official fanfest, which is the Hannaford MAAC and Cheese fest."

The Bounce and Spirit Squad events take place Friday. The MAAC and Cheese Fest is set for Monday from 4 to 6 p.m., sandwiched between the women's championship game in the afternoon and the men's championship game at night.

Belber says it’s a bit of a dress rehearsal for later this month, when the NCAA women's basketball tournament returns starting March 29th.

Belber adds on Saturday, the "day off," people can attend an E-Gaming Competition at the Albany Capital Center.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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